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The Student News Site of Davenport Central High School

The Blackhawk

The Student News Site of Davenport Central High School

The Blackhawk

Is SmartPass a Smart Idea?
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    Is SmartPass a Smart Idea?

    The Shift in how Passes Work at Central
    Screenshot+of+the+SmartPass+student+screen.
    Simone Hoogheem
    Screenshot of the SmartPass student screen.

    For the last term of the 2023-2024 school year, Central moved to a new, digitized version of passes through a company called SmartPass. The company was created in 2019, and 2,000+ schools in the United States use it. This is just one of the many changes Central has implemented over the course of the school year.

    SmartPass advertises itself as the  “ultimate solution for hallway management”. Using the site, teachers are able to prevent students who may have issues being in the halls at the same time, which can help prevent fights. It is also useful for seeing which students are out of the classroom, and limiting the number of students in the halls during class time. Since it is digital, it also helps eliminate the anxiety around asking a teacher directly for a pass, and the number of paper passes being used throughout the school year.

    Despite the positive aspects, any of the features that could be helpful, like being able to anonymously report vaping in the bathrooms, are only available in the app, which Central has not allowed students to access and create passes through. Benie Toko, a junior, stated “I think smartpass has helped reduce hallway traffic, but my biggest gripe with it is that our school doesn’t allow us to access the app on our smartphones. I hate having to prop up my chromebook that hasn’t seen the light of day since the night before when I finished 2 cans of Pringles while doing my pre-calc homework.” Central has also limited the daily number of passes a student can make to 3 per day, which is simply not realistic for every student every day. A student may need to use the bathroom more than that, or need to go to talk to their councilor, or even go to the nurse. With the limit on pass numbers, it greatly impacts students’ ability to do what they need to do during the school day. The passes are also limited to an 8 minute round-trip, which doesn’t take into account the fact that stalls may be full, a student may have health issues such as IBS, and the fact that half of Central’s bathrooms are locked and inaccessible to students. It also doesn’t allow students to take time they may need for a mental health break, which may last longer than 8 minutes. For students on their period, it may be necessary to take more breaks to change a pad or tampon, ease cramps, and make sure they are not bleeding through. Students are also stressed about “beating the clock” on the passes to avoid going into overtime, which could lead to anxiety and not wanting to use the passes. The system was created to target specific problem students, but is being forced on the entire student body and the faculty. The cost is also expensive, ranging from two to five dollars per student. With Central’s over one thousand students, the price is reaching 3000 to 7500 dollars per school year, taking funds away from necessary uses, such as fixing bathrooms and extra curricular activities.

    With these factors to consider, it is hard to know whether or not SmartPass will be a good thing for Central High School.

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    Simone Hoogheem
    Simone Hoogheem, Editor-in-Chief
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